Luigi Wewege is Senior Vice President of Belize based Caye International Bank, a FinTech School Instructor, the published author of The Digital Banking Revolution and the former CEO of boutique financial services firm – Vivier & Co.
Luigi Wewege is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Luigi provides the leadership and energy that is inspiring the growth of Caye International Bank. Luigi Wewege joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Caye International Bank with our Impact Company of 2019 award, and we are delighted to have Luigi join us for our Leader Round Table Interview.
The Caye International Bank story is very interesting. We are very excited to interview Luigi, and also put Luigi through our popular speed round as well. Luigi, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your passion.
1. Can you describe what the “elevator pitch” for Caye International Bank is?
Caye is the only International Bank headquartered on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye in Belize, Central America. Our bank license permits us to conduct financial services with both individuals and corporations located outside of Belize. We offer a full range of traditional and non-traditional banking services and accounts in multiple currencies. An application for account opening is a simple process and can be facilitated online from anywhere in the world.
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEO’s just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
During the initial start-up phase of Vivier I made the mistake in thinking that due to the team being relatively small that there wasn’t a need for scheduled meetings. What soon became apparent was a significant uptake in email correspondence and Skype calls due to team members checking in with me the moment a question arose. I overcame this by scheduling regular meetings which allowed staff to group questions and discuss with me at one time.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as Caye International Bank, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
This is going to sound overly simplistic but take the time to step away every so often even if it is a 30-minute walk and you will be pleasantly surprised as to what you can think through or of while being disconnected from work.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Caye International Bank, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Hiring multilingual staff from the very beginning has been very effective for the bank, because language barriers can often be a challenge with remote customers. I believe that any business who operates internationally should ensure that they have staff who can communicate well in in several languages.
I say this because you should never assume all your international clients can speak or write in perfect English. Besides the obvious professionalism of being able to correspond with potential clients in their native language, I always try to remember this great quote from Nelson Mandela – who once said that; “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart!”
5. What is the one overriding belief that Caye International Bank has about what it is doing?
Our mission at the bank has been to always apply a personal services approach with our clients. By doing so we aim to build a long-lasting relationship with each of them, so as to one day become their trusted advisor on all financial matters.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, what do you do to keep up with the changes? What do you read to stay abreast of things?
I subscribe to several email newsletters focused on digital banking, financial markets and the world economy as well a scrolling through specific Twitter and LinkedIn feeds focused on the same.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to help lead Caye International Bank?
I see the market share for digital banking/FinTech firms growing exponentially over the next one to three years. The onset of these companies I find fascinating because of how it has forced larger traditional retails banks to increase their pace of digital adoption. As established banks cannot stop client attrition to agile start-ups and niche players, these banks are now beginning to think more like disruptors, obsessing about consumer experience and using digital technology to avoid being totally outflanked by new entrants to the financial services sector.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
For me there are two books: the first may seem a hackneyed choice, but the book: How to Win Friends & Influence People, is an absolute wealth of information. Although written in a time past, Dale Carnegie’s advice on how to integrate technical knowledge, ideas, leadership skills and enthusiasm remains an inspirational and indispensable handbook for any entrepreneur today! The second book is: Narrow Road by Felix Dennis, and this is not your usual get-rich-quick manual but rather a blunt and honest account of the mistakes he has made and the lessons he learnt the hard way. I consider it an absolutely essential read for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur.
9. In one sentence, can you tell us what the most important thing about being a leader is?
Avoid the hard sell – most people deal with entrepreneurs on an extremely regular basis, so they are accustomed to glib sales talk and slick tactics. Be candid, transparent and honest about your product or service. Authenticity comes from an honest portrayal of yourself, i.e. why did you get into this company to begin with? That is where your best pitch lies!
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as Caye International Bank?
To always seek input from others so as to aide you in reaching the best possible decision for your business/start-up. This is due to entrepreneurship for the most part being about taking calculated risks and you will always create better strategies if more facts and information go into the decision-making process.
We would like to have some fun and do a “Speed Round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only. Here you go!
1. In three words or less, What makes a successful CEO?
Passion and persistence.
2. Describe Caye International Bank in one word?
3. Describe Caye International Bank customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee for Caye International Bank?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about Caye International Banking?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
International asset protection.
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Work hard plus be resilient.
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Caye International Bank?
Exciting, learning and global.
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Exhilarating, humbling, maturing
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Luigi Wewege, Thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Leader Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We hope your interview helps our readers, and we wish you, your family, and of course Caye International Bank, nothing but the best.